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9 Smart Ways to Spend Every Penny of Your Free Onboard Credit on a Cruise

Did you get free onboard credit for your upcoming cruise and not sure how to use it? Onboard credit is like getting free money credited to your account on the ship, usually ranging from $50 to $250. It’s essentially free money to spend during your cruise! Below are the best ways to spend your onboard credit. 

How Do You Get Onboard Credit?

There are many ways to get free onboard credit. You can earn it by referring friends and family to book a cruise, receive it as a gift from your travel agent, or receive it by being a shareholder of a cruise line. Onboard credit can also be given to you as compensation from the cruise line or as part of a cruise promotion. 

It’s important to note that onboard credits are typically “use it or lose it”—you must spend every penny of them by the final night of your cruise, or else they will be forfeited. They cannot be exchanged for cash! 

So, how should you spend your onboard credit? Below, you’ll find the best ways to use onboard credits on a cruise.

How to spend cruise onboard credit

How to Spend Your Onboard Credit

1. Get a Massage

Make the most of your onboard credit on a cruise by treating yourself to a spa experience. Indulge in a massage or a facial, and feel pampered. It’s a wonderful way to use your onboard credit for some well-deserved relaxation.

2. Thermal Suite

One way to make the most of your onboard credit is to buy a day pass or a pass for the entire duration of your cruise for the spa’s thermal suite. This pass will give you access to the spa’s jacuzzi, saunas, steam rooms, salt room, and therapy rooms. 

It’s a great way to relax, pamper yourself, and get away from the crowds while using your onboard credit. However, not all cruise ships have thermal suites.

3. Shore Excursions

A great way to make the most of your onboard credit is by using it to book shore excursions. Cruise shore excursions can be quite pricey, sometimes costing a few hundred dollars per person. 

But onboard credit can make shore excursions feel less expensive and more affordable. Many cruise lines allow you to apply your onboard credit when you book your shore excursion online before you even set foot on the ship.

4. Photos

A great way to use your onboard credit is to splurge on expensive cruise photos that you normally wouldn’t buy on the cruise. Trust me, you’ll be glad to have professional photos to remember your cruise by! 

How to spend cruise onboard credit

5. Buy Drinks

A great way to use your onboard credit is to buy alcoholic drinks, non-alcoholic beverages, specialty coffee, smoothies, and bottles of wine. You can also use it to splurge on drink packages for unlimited drinks and cocktails throughout your cruise. Or, if you’re not a big drinker, use your onboard credit to buy a non-alcoholic beverage package instead. 

6. Shopping at the Gift Shop

You can use your onboard credit to shop at the cruise gift shop. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, duty-free alcohol, handbags, watches, or anything else, your onboard credit can be used to indulge in a shopping spree. Go ahead and enjoy some retail therapy!

7. Specialty Restaurant

One great way to make use of your onboard credit is by indulging in the cruise ship’s specialty restaurant. Many cruise ships have upscale dining options that require an additional fee. 

These specialty restaurants feature premium dishes, some of which are celebrity chef dishes not available in the main dining area. What better way to make the most of your onboard credit than by treating yourself to a fancy dinner experience?

8. Onboard Activities

A great way to use your onboard credit is to spend it on onboard experiences. Spend your onboard credit on activities like wine tasting, behind-the-scenes cruise ship tours, or rides. Some cruise ships offer fee-based experiences, such as surfing, roller coasters, and go-karting. 

9. Casino

If you’re feeling lucky and enjoy gambling, you can spend your onboard credit at the casino. It’s like having free money to play with, and it makes it a lot more fun since you’re playing with free money! Want to get free onboard credit? 8 Easy Ways to Get Free Onboard Credit on a Cruise

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